In the past when the Partition of Bengal happened, lots of Bengalis left East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to save their life from political and social crisis. They came to West Bengal and started to live there. The people migrated from East Bengal called Bangal in native language whether the people lived in West Bengal called Edeshi or Ghoti. All were Bengalis, but the food was somehow different between these two in many aspects. For an example, Bangal people used to love Sorshe (mustard seeds) more than Poshto (poppy seeds). And on the other hand Edeshi people used to love Poshto a lot. Why I’m telling all these is the story or history you can say behind this Chalkumror Pur Bhaja recipe.
Dishes were prepared within these families differently with one ingredient or certain vegetables. I’m not saying that the whole cuisine was different between edeshi and bangal. But, yes there were lots of difference in preparing food. This is an endless topic to discuss actually, and lots of arguments happened in different food forums on the eating habits of edeshi and bangal. So, let’s not get into that. Things have changed a lot in today’s world. And the difference in food between edeshi and bangal has been diluted long time back.
My point is to preserve lost recipes through food blogging. And I love to do this. So, please let me know if you’ve any heirloom recipe or age old rare family recipes, I would love to blog about it.
This recipe belongs to my Granny. Father of my Grandfather and Granny’s parents were migrated from East Bengal to here in West Bengal at the time of partition. I’m a bangal by birth. And yes I do love Sorshe more than Poshto. It’s in my genes. 🙂 My Mom has learnt Chalkumror Pur Bhaja from my Granny. It’s an age old authentic dish what you must cook if you love to try old recipes. This tastes excellent with steamed rice. A childhood favourite of mine, Ma used to cook this whenever Ash gourd is in season. I insisted Ma this time to cook it for me and I’ve learnt this from her as well. Here goes the recipe.
Chalkumror Pur Bhaja/Stuffed Ash Gourd Fries
- Chalkumro/Petha/Ash gourd- 1
- Mustard seeds paste- ½ cup or as required depending on the size of Ash gourd.
- Rice flour
- Turmeric powder
- Vegetable oil for frying
Cut Ash gourd into thick slices. Slit every slice from the middle (check picture for reference). Wash well. Mix 1 tsp of sugar and ½ tsp of salt with the slices. Keep aside for 1 hour. The amount of sugar and salt will vary depending on the size of Ash gourd. So adjust accordingly. Mine was near about 500g in weight.
For mustard seeds paste you can mix yellow and black mustard seeds both in equal proportion, if you want you can use only yellow mustard seeds or black mustard seeds for the paste also. Don’t forget to add 1 or 2 green chilies when you are making the paste. Else use ready to use mustard powder (cookme or sunrise) available in the market. This paste should be thick in consistency not runny.
Make a batter of rice flour with water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder into this. The consistency of this batter should be medium thick.
Heat 1 cup of oil in a deep frying pan/Kadai. Now fill the slitted gap of Ash gourd slices with mustard paste (check picture for reference). Seal the edge of the filling lightly with the batter of rice flour. Just dip your finger in the batter and lightly spread over the seal. Dip the slices into the batter and then deep fry until golden brown in color. Do this on medium flame. The batter should coat the slices lightly, as you can see in the picture that the texture of Ash gourd is still visible after frying. So, this is how ‘Chalkumror Pur Bhaja’ should be made. It’s not pakoda (fritter), so try not to make a thick batter of rice flour. Fry 2-3 pieces at a time.
Serve immediately as a side dish with steamed rice and dal. The authentic way of having ‘Chalkumror Pur Bhaja’ is to mash this using your fingers on the bed of rice; mix and eat.